Tweedledum and Tweedledee: Two great essays from very opposite sides of the barricades, but embodying the same healthy bloody-mindedness: reverent Roger Scruton, English, conservative and monarchist ,on the Right, and irreverent Glen Newey, Scottish, socialist and republican, on the Left. The differences are plain to see. But it's the similarities, I think, that point to the enduring strength of the British political spirit.
Entrances to Hell abound throughout the United Kingdom. Who knew?
I recently rode the Falkirk Wheel, perhaps the least well known of a number of UK projects marking the Millenium, which fuse stunning design with ingenious engineering. [more inside]
This stuff is nasty! Have anyone out there ever tried Marmite? It looks like something you might pack your wheel bearings in. The taste isn't much better. Maybe it's just a British thing?
Winston Churchill has been voted as the Greatest Briton in a BBC survey. Yes, he gave some great speeches when he needed to, but who gave him the language to make them? Who is missing from the list?
Britain's Pubs to Entertain Longer Hours? Tony Blair Says Yes! In an effort to curb binge drinking and overall ruddy behavior after closing times at 11pm, Parliament has it before them to allow for extended bar hours, rather than fixed open and closing hours. Communities would have some sort of say in which pubs would be able to have which hours, probably based on distance to residential areas, etc. CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale was one of the formal organizations backing this plan. Open All Hours? is a group opposing the plan. Check it out!
Should majorities also have a say? Why doesn't Russia get to vote on Chechen independence? Why can't Britain vote on expelling Northern Ireland ... or the English on Scottish devolution? Should minorities be allowed to hold a gun to the heads of the majority?
In the new LRB, a pretty good attempt to answer the pressing question - why do the Bush people want to attack Iraq so much?
Cooking the Books The Office of National Statistics feels that the UK population is a little too small - so they're inventing one million people to fill the gap. Why did they do a census if they were going to make it all up?
Sunday, Bloody Sunday... On the night of 30 January 1972, Murray Sayle was sent by the Sunday Times to Londonderry to report on the fatal shooting of 14 unarmed civil rights marchers by British Army Paratroopers. The article he wrote diverged from the official line; it was never printed. Twenty-six years later, his lost copy was unearthed by the new Inquiry. In what follows, he returns to Derry to give evidence. His original article is reproduced in full, along with a map marking the locations of the dead and wounded, and a memo Sayle wrote to the editor of the Sunday Times when the article failed to appear.
Wild goose chase - "British wildlife experts are mourning the loss of Kerry the goose after tracking him by satellite all the way from Ireland to an Eskimo's kitchen in Arctic Canada." No, seriously.
How To Say Yes (Or No) To British Food: Apart from the language barrier (ably demolished by Mike Etherington's magnificent online dictionary), British food has a dreadful reputation all over the world. Yet people who try it, whatever their nationality, often find they enjoy it. If it's properly made, that is. Enter Helen Watson's impeccable and ethnically correct recipes. And those who can't be bothered to cook can always plump for the many ready-made goodies (and some real stinkers) now offered by internet mail order firms. The most promising has got to be, with over 2,500 goodies, the FBC Brit Shop. Unfortunately it's based in Japan and will only start delivering in September. The best of the rest is probably yummy British Delights. My mother's English so I'm obviously biased, but aren't a lot of people missing out on the unique gastronomic charms of the good old United K? Oh yes![FBC link pilfered from the Boing Boing larder.]
Bye Bye, Privacy. Despite opposition from civil liberties groups worldwide, the European parliament bowed to pressure from individual governments, led by Britain, and approved legislation to give police the power to access the communications records of every phone and internet user.
Pip Tattersall is the first woman to win the Green Beret of the Royal Marines, but she still can't fight in combat. Is the British army ignoring thousands of years of history, or is Martin van Creveld right?
Mother jailed for girls' truancy A question for our British gang, is truancy such a problem in the UK now that this is really necessary? When I went to school in England, lo those mumblemumble years ago, I don't remember it being this bad. For the rest of the world, do you think truancy in your country would justify locking up the primary caregiver or is this punishing the wrong person? Can parents be held responsible for everything a child does? And better said, should they? When should we grant children the priviledges and penalties of their own autonomous actions?
Britishness at its absolute bloody best I watched the whole Queen Mum procession thing yesterday, complete with "frantically filling BBC commentators", and this Brains Trust article was the perfect antidote. My favourite though is Die Sissons Die
Another trip into TV Hell. In the UK we're much kinder to bad television -- shows will go on for weeks without an audience and often get comissioned for second series before someone releases they're awful (yes you 'Let Them Eat Cake' -- if that French and Saunder monstrosity had been on UStv it would have been cancelled after two episodes -- if it had been comissioned at all). 'Off The Telly' considers all the things prospective television producers need to avoid if they're going to create something they're proud of. Does anyone else have any bad examples?
Triple Palindrome set for tonight. For those that follow British time, tonight, at 2 minutes past 8 your clock will read 20:02 20/02/2002
Revolutionary new transport system ---looks good to me. Got to hand it to the Brits...
Poor Prince Harry Drug rehab clinic it is. Also chips thumb playing football and puts foot through a glass door at party. Wonder if its all connected. PS Rehab for weed and alcohol only? Fishy.
what will 2002 bring? the guardian newspaper asked various people, like the british tiolet association, for their thoughts on the new year. the result is an interesting portrait of britain today
Was Christmas TV really ever all that special? 'Off The Telly' reviews three decades of Christmas Day television in Britain. "It's funny...that Christmas time is actually an excuse for some of the worst TV atrocities of the year to be inflicted upon us. Christmas telly does not equate with quality. And yet, never does TV become a more integral part of our own family or personal routines and traditions. And never are we so receptive to a gathering of disparate middle-of-the-road celebrities and their stale party pieces." And for the ultra-cynic, TV-Go-Home's Charlie Booker presents an alternative schedule.
house of saud close to collapse interesing piece form the uk guardian's investigative editor david leigh, it seems the saudi govern,ent's recent pr blitz has failed and is symptomatic of a deeper malaise
Over-educated, over here and overwhelmed The teacher shortage in Britain is so acute, that talent from the four corners is being shipped in at double the cost. The irony is, that if our teachers were actually paid the salary this gentleman is getting, there would be more of them...
Sunderland Football Club is having a contest where the lucky winner will get to be One of the Lads for the entire season. That's right, the lucky winning fan will get to join the first team squad, travel with them to all away games, train and hang out with his Premiership heroes! There's even a Manchester United fan trying to win... Don't you wish there was a similar contest for your favorite [sport] club?
UK-Dance This is a long-running community website, starting life as a mailing list way back in 1992. Since becoming a member in 1997, I've found it the liveliest, strongest and sometimes most seditious web site community I know. The main tenets are dance music (from jazz, through dub, reggae but most emphatically house, techno, drum'n'bass and whatever the scene throws up), hedonism, politics and networking. You have to subscribe to take part, but if you're a DJ, producer, music fan, clubber, raver, psychonaut or revolutionary, you'll be made to feel welcome. Check it out, but beware if you're a big fan of trance music.
In light of the possible spread of foot and mouth disease virtually anywhere--I was wondering how restricted UK citizens are. Is travel in the countryside difficult or impossible? Isn't it interesting how quickly movement is restricted and meat taken off the table?
Lawyers fail to fulfill social duties Thank the good lord we do not have a similar problem in the United States!
Yet another rail crash in the UK, and trains are still not back to normal in the wake of the last one. It will be interesting to see how this increases road travel, something the country clearly isn't prepared for.
Blair goes along with us to bomb Iraq. Britain was ready to soften boycott against Iraq. We changed Blair's mind. Drudge reports more sophisticated equipment used by Iraq supplied by China.
And you thought US environmental policies were bad. Europe is facing a major environmental crisis that it seems unwilling or unable to act on -- deforestation, flooding, desertification and more. From the article: "One fifth of the land in Spain is already so degraded that it is turning to desert" -- and it's as bad if not worse elsewhere on the continent & in Britain.
Ooooh, those trendy young Brits and their funny new words. What I can't help wondering is how many people have been sending in made up slang. (via clog).
Slash swears on UK kiddie show - do they need any more reason to bring him back into GnR?? Duff too, while you're at it.
Who's that in the park? Look at this image of Selhurst Park and tell me what you think you see? Via linkmachinego
British courts rule conjoined twins should be separated, against wishes of parents. One will live, one will die. Lord Justice Ward: "50% of the population will agree with the decision - 50% will think we have gone potty."
Help Wanted : Naval Chaplain for Her Majesty's Navy. Frustrated with the prospect of designing web pages for the rest of your life? Well, this might be for you.
Gay Elizabethan Spy and Playwright found murdered! Not one, but two Christopher Marlowe movies. Hollywood, thou art such a suppurating whore. Thanks to Pete for the link.
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